DELIVERING DISCOMFORT TO THE POWERFUL SINCE 2009
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YOUNG AND VULNERABLE

Few elected officials have a longer, more notorious list of misdeeds than AC Transit member Joel Young, but defeating him won't be easy.

HAGGERTY VOWS TO DELIVER THE TRI VALLEY

Two years ago, the Tri Valley helped to undermine a massive transportation sales tax, its county supervisor says he won't be embarrassed again this fall.

JUNE PRIMARY COVERAGE ONLY AT EBCITIZEN.COM

Assemblymember Rob Bonta casts his ballot June 3 in Alameda.

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Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Bill With San Leandro Hospital in Mind Heads to Governor's Desk

CORBETT'S BILL WOULD HELP HOSPITAL FIGHTS IN SAN LEANDRO AND MARIN
By Steven Tavares

State Sen. Ellen Corbett's bill to end the practice of hospital providers transferring funds out of local healthcare districts while also stopping them for purchasing a facility for next to nothing at taxpayers expense was passed Tuesday night by the assembly. The bill now heads to the governor's desk for consideration.

Much of the impetus for SB 1240 stems from the controversy between the Eden Township Healthcare District and Sutter Health regarding the future of San Leandro Hospital. “I have seen first hand how hard a community will fight to save its hospital and how difficult that fight can be,” Corbett said Tuesday.

While the fight to save San Leandro Hospital hit a fever pitch in the summer of 2009, news that Sutter Health could purchase the facility without any money changing hands, garnered incredulous responses from many local activists and residents. Through losses said to have been incurred at the hospital along with deductions for equity spent on improvements to the facility, Sutter claimed the purchase price was zero. "To keep the hospital open, the district in 2008 gave away quite a bit to Sutter," said the Director of Alameda Health Services Alex Briscoe last year, "For all intents and purposes--legally--the hospital is in the hands of Sutter."

Corbett's bill, first put up for consideration before the senate in April, would put an end to such a scenario along with stopping Sutter's controversial use of "equity transfers" they say allows the non-profit to help under performing hospitals in its Northern California network. The healthcare district in Marin sued Sutter last week for $120 million to recoup profits from Marin General Hospital before operation of the facility was returned to the district. In addition, over $50 million in equity transfers have been funneled away from Eden Medical Center in Castro Valley and San Leandro Hospital since 2004 (both hospitals operate under the same license).

If signed into law, SB 1240 would go in effect Jan. 1, 2011.

On the Heels of Debate, Boxer Talks Jobs and Economy


Sen. Barbara Boxer
SPEECH IN S.F. FOCUSES ON FIORINA'S RECORD OF SENDING JOBS OVERSEAS
By Steven Tavares

SAN FRANCISCO - On the eve of Sen. Barbara Boxer's anticipated first debate with Republican nominee Carly Fiorina, the three-term senator spoke extensively about jobs--namely the ones she says her challenger sent overseas as CEO of HP.

Boxer made numerous references Tuesday afternoon at the Commonwealth Club of California to Fiorina's tumultuous tenure at the legendary Silicon Valley company where critics charge she shipped thousands of jobs overseas during the early part of the decade.

With the state economy reeling and unemployment steady at over 11 percent in some Bay Area counties, Boxer is hoping to turn the conversation to the job market in advance of Wednesday night's televised debate. With the election season nearing Labor Day, recent polls show very little distance between the two candidates.

In her opening remarks, though, Boxer conceded the economy is not growing as quickly as she would like. "The pace is too slow," said Boxer, "I acknowledge that, but we simply cannot go back to the policies that got us into this mess." She drew a distinction between her time in the senate under the administrations of Presidents Clinton and George W. Bush, a trick many Democrats up for re-election this fall have failed to successful link in the mind of voters. "We know the policies that created a surplus and we know the policies that created deficits," she said.

Boxer's way out of the Great Recession lies within technology and infrastructure, she says. Included in her five-point plan is an emphasis on clean energy technologies which have sprouted in and around Silicon Valley and up north along the East Bay. Boxer also believes U.S. companies must take the lead in green tech before Asia and Europe pass us up. "Clean energy technology should be made in America." she said, while also criticizing Proposition 23, which she says will send the message California is turning its back on the potentially game changing green tech industry.

During a wide-ranging question and answer period Boxer was asked her opinions on national issues such as immigration reform, the Islamic center and mosque in Manhattan, the rise of the Tea Party and the state's proposition to legalize marijuana, but failed illuminate any of the subjects.

Boxer said most agree immigration reform is needed, but an answer for amnesty of over 11 million aliens must be addressed along with the role of employers. "We need to come to the center and write a bill that's smart," she said.

The rise of the sometimes discombobulated Tea Party movement is a welcomed voice in the political conversation, Boxer said, but called out some of the more angry aspects of the group that have become infamous. "I like when people get involved," she said. "I don't like people getting together with a divisive message." A native New Yorker, Boxer said the issue of building a Islamic center and mosque near Ground Zero is not for her to decide. "I'm not going to put my nose in it--it doesn't belong there," she said. On moral grounds, Boxer says she will not support California's proposition to legalize marijuana and believes the state would not be better off if children have easier access to marijuana.

When a question of whether Boxer was worried about her chances for re-election was posed, she smiled and said, "I'm not worried; I'm excited." and returned to Fiorina's comments earlier in the campaign regarding her hairdo. "It's not about the hair, it's about real issues that matter."

Monday, August 30, 2010

Hayashi, Other East Bay Liberals Vote Against Foreclosure Bill

Critics say the banking lobby
killed SB 1275 in the assembly
LENO'S BILL WOULD HAVE ALLOWED FOR EASE OF LOAN MODIFICATIONS
Most observers in favor of Sen. Mark Leno's foreclosure bill called it "modest." The piece of legislation that would have afforded troubled borrowers a decision on whether they were approved for a loan modification was inexplicably voted down last week by state Republicans and many liberal members of the assembly.

East Bay assemblymembers Mary Hayashi, Alberto Torrico and Joan Buchanan all voted against SB 1275. Along with the 38 noes recorded Aug. 26, 13 members shielded themselves from criticism by abstaining, including San Francisco's Fiona Ma and two Democrats who recently failed in attempts to rise within the party's power structure--Kevin De Leon and Hector De La Torre. East Bay Sen. Ellen Corbett voted in favor of the bill in June on both the Senate floor and appropriations committee. Corbett also has a bill regarding the foreclosure process currently awaiting the governor's signature.

A consumer watchdog group reported 20 lobbyists of the banking industry crawling about the assembly floor as the vote was taken last week. Various banking interests had argued the bill would add higher levels of complexity to the foreclosure process and open mortgage servicers to a bevy of frivolous lawsuits. But, during the process of possible notice of foreclosure, many borrowers reeling from a poor economy, were forced to make monthly mortgage payments to their banks when their homes were ultimately foreclosed upon anyway.

A few editorials have taken shots at Hayashi, Torrico, Buchanan and Ma for their votes, saying they amount to treason against the ideals of their party, which traditionally espouses looking out for those with the least. Furthermore, what makes this foursomes vote more disconcerting is they all belong to minority groups the bill would have greatly helped. According to the Center for Responsible Lending, between 2004 and 2008, Latinos and African American mortgage holders accounted for 35.6 percent of home loans in California, but made up of over half of the number of foreclosures. Both groups also have disproportionally far higher loans rates than any other demographic.

The home is where the heart is, so to speak. Without one, studies have clearly shown; education, health and public safety eventually turns for the worse, making these lawmaker's no votes on SB 1275 one of the most ill-advised and potentially harmful for the residents of their Bay Area districts.
-STEVEN TAVARES

UPDATE: Aug. 30, 2010, 3:45 p.m. Information on Corbett's senate bill was added.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

No Debate for Stark; Pareja Settles for Rodeo?

The Tea Party write-in challenger to Rep. Pete Stark will not get a chance to debate the long-time congressman. Chris Pareja offered Stark a three-way debate with himself and Forest Baker, if "we can find the rock he is hiding under," Pareja said of their Republican challenger. "Not a chance," Stark bluntly said this week. "Why would I debate you?"

Pareja, who garnered only half of the over 9,000 signatures needed to gain a spot on the November ballot as an independent, will rely on a write-in campaign to best a congressman whose opponents have won over 30 percent of the vote just once since 1980.

 But, the real question is, can the 78-year-old East Bay legislator ride a mechanical bull? Huh? Depending on your view of the video below, Pareja is not very good at riding a bucking bronco or very adept at falling off one.



-STEVEN TAVARES

Friday, August 27, 2010

Episode 2 of the TnT Podcast Now Available

East Bay Assemblywoman Mary Hayashi confounds the local political world with news of her campaign accepted fundraising dollars from Fox News. A mayoral candidate in San Leandro reportedly cries. Pete Stark shocks seniors and Gail Steele has a few highballs. All that and more on the now weekly EastBayCitizen.com TnT Podcast with Steven Tavares and Nick Terry. Click on the logo on the right to go to the podcast page. Note: the TnT Podcast moves to its new day. Check the EastBayCitizen.com every Friday morning for the latest show.

Here is the Hit List for Episode 2, the compendium of people and ideas criticized this week:

Rep. Charlie Rangel, Fox News, Hot Blond news anchors, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Rep. Pete Stark, Fmr Sen. Chris Dodd, Mary Hayashi, Fiona Ma, Supervisor Gail Steele, seniors, Councilwoman Joyce Starosciak, Kobe beef, Kobe Bryant, cry babies, driving while talking on the cell phone, Justin Bieber, President Obama, vacations, Bill Lockyer, Weinerschnitzel.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Hayashi Accepted Campaign Fundraising from Fox News

LIBERAL LOCAL OFFICIAL PROSPERS FROM CONSERVATIVE NEWS JUGGERNAUT
By Steven Tavares

A subsidiary of News Corp gave
 Asm. Mary Hayashi $1,000.
Democratic Assemblywoman Mary Hayashi received campaign contributions from the U.S. subsidiary of News Corp, the parent company of the conservative cable news network Fox News, according to campaign finance records released by the secretary of state's office.

Fox Group made the $1,000 donation to Hayashi's assembly campaign last March. Fox also gave $20,000 to the state Republican Party and $5,000 to California gubernatorial candidate Meg Whitman, but the conservative-leaning News Corp also gave generously to Democrats in the state. The Democratic Central Committee pulled down $25,000 in the past year along with $3,600 to Assembly Speaker John Perez, who is staunch supporter of Hayashi.

News Corp's list of campaign fundraising donations became a national news story last week when it was disclosed the media empire led by Rupert Murdoch gave the Republican Party over $1 million.

The inclusion of the East Bay's Hayashi on the radar of News Corp comes as a surprise to many in a region that is arguably the most liberal in America. When asked to explain Hayashi's acceptance of fundraising dollars from the conservative media company, Chris Parman, an aide for her Hayward office said, "I don't talk to blogs."

ASK MARY HAYASHI WHY SHE ACCEPTED MONEY FROM FOX NEWS. Call her Hayward office at (510) 583-8818 and her office in Sacramento at (916) 319-2018.

Stark Bait

Seemingly innocuous statements
 from Rep. Pete Stark become potential 
fodder for conservatives like Glenn Beck.
OPPONENTS MINING FOR THE NEXT YOUTUBE CLASSIC
By Steven Tavares

Biting retorts to angry constituents by Rep. Pete Stark have become content for YouTube infamy.

Starting with his infamous, "I wouldn't waste my urine" on you quip to a senior in Fremont to asking a member of the anti-immigration Minutemen "who are you going to kill today" the probability of a precious sound bite may be pushing opponents to bait the 17-term congressman into saying something that would make even House Speaker Nancy Pelosi cringe.

In an otherwise, informative town hall Tuesday night in Fremont dealing with many of the issues facing many East Bay residents, a woman, later identified as a member of the local Republican central committee asked Stark if Americans "have done anything to make the terrorists hate us." Stark did not bite. Nor did he respond when another resident made reference to another hot button national issue--the proposed Islamic center near Ground Zero.

Another questioner, who would not identify himself, but was later described as another member of the local Republican central committee ask Stark why he had "no respect" for Israel and voted against sending arms to the country. "I never vote for weapons for anyone," said Stark. who added. "They can do fine with the weapons they have."

Others times the questions got downright wacky when a gentleman asked if Stark has changed his position regarding the Boy Scouts of America. The congressman stared quizzically and grinned before saying, "I didn't know I had a position on the Boy Scouts!" Stark later said he had problems with some of the religious aspects of the organization while having a tacit link to the federal government. Stark is the only atheist among members of Congress.

After a large and angry group of residents shouted down Stark at a town hall in Hayward last month, there were indications the congressman was attempting to control the tone of the meeting, if not, to merely cure the problem of numerous people speaking at the same time. It also hard to utter disparaging words at Stark while his 9-year-old son is standing next to him as occurred in both Fremont and Wednesday night in San Leandro.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Stark Returns to the Issues

Rep. Pete Stark answers a question during a town hall meeting Tuesday night in Fremont while being filmed by Minuteman Steve Kemp, who the congressman infamously asked in a YouTube video, "Who are you going to kill today?"
ECONOMY AND JOBS ON THE MINDS OF CONSTITUENTS
By Steven Tavares

FREMONT, Calif. - Worries about rising unemployment and diminshing personal income are a common concern among Americans. A month ago, Rep. Pete Stark tried in vain to touch upon these issues while a raucous, angry group of residents at a town hall meeting in Hayward drowned him out. Tuesday night in Fremont the issues facing many were discussed this time around supported by a larger showing of Stark's more understanding constituents who flashed signs that read, "Thanks, Pete!"

The economy and the nation's increasing deficits was on the minds of many at Fremont Seniors Center. While Stark attributed much of the ballooning deficit on the Bush tax cuts, which he says he does not favor extending, and the continuing wars in the Middle East, he says he is amendable to cuts to social security for a limited time if it is needed to help shrink the deficit. "I could live with a cut in Social Security for short term," said Stark, who mentioned a 1-2 year time frame.

Stark was also queried on unemployment benefits, tax cuts and the state's annual budget mess. The meeting was a reversal from recent town halls that focused solely on Stark's controversial comments on immigration and his quip to a Minuteman asking him "you are you going to kill today?" While there were brief moments of angry discourse Tuesday night, it was nothing in comparison to the constant vitriol thrown around by Stark and last month's audience.

With unemployment benefits slated to again expire in November, Stark says he is hopeful Congress will extend benefits to millions of out-of-work Americans. "My hope is with the kind of unemployment we have, we won't have a choice," he said. Twice in the past year, Senate Republicans have put the issue on hold to the consternation of many Democrats, including Stark. He also believes a new Congress next year will generously support renewing benefits as gesture to voters.

When a constituent asked Stark how the state's Legislature might pass a new budget, he guffawed and said, "I don't want to touch that!" He later said part of the gridlock in Sacramento revolves around the precept of a two-thirds majority to get anything done. He then criticized some of Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's proposed cuts to programs affecting children. "He is taking his suggestions out of the hides of children," said Stark. "This goes against my instincts." He also is hopeful federal dollars will begin to flow to education and MediCal programs in the state.

Stark will hold a second town hall tonight, 7 p.m. in San Leandro at the Main Library.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Traffic Headaches, Tardies On Tap for First Day of School?

The median just south of East 14th Street and 136th Avenue under construction to beautify the area leading into San Leandro High School. The roadwork, extending two blocks south could pose traffic headaches for parents and students traveling Wednesday morning to the first day of school. The area is already notorious for traffic jams on most school days

The work to add landscaping to the median parallel to the new Fred Korematsu Ninth Grade campus was approved last fall by the San Leandro City Council. It also runs along the same path as AC Transit's proposed bus bus line. Last year, The Citizen was told any work to by AC Transit to extend the controversial bus line through East 14th would result in the transit agency footing the bill to dismantle the work currently being done.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Third Time A Charm For Harmer?

LOSSES IN UTAH, 10TH DISTRICT HAVE NOT STOPPED GOP'S 'YOUNG GUN'
Will congressional candidate David Harmer
go down in a "Blaze of Glory"?
Does David Harmer belong to the state of Utah where he once ran for Congress in 1996, California's Central Valley where he lost the special election for the 10th District to Rep. John Garamendi or incumbent Rep. Jerry McNerney's 11th District? As Jon Bon Jovi once sang, "I never drew first but I drew first blood/I'm no one's son, call me young gun."

In fact, the Republican Party named Harmer one of its own "Young Guns" last June--conservative candidates deemed to have a shot at unseating incumbent congressional Democrats this fall. Forty of these candidates stand gain handsomely from support and fundraising from the national party apparatus.

To get those precious dollars needed to unseat the two-term McNerney, Harmer had to travel last Friday to Utah for a fundraising event, according to the Mormon-owned Deseret News. Harmer, who was born in California, is Mormon and attended Brigham Young. His father, John Harmer, was lieutenant governor under Ronald Reagan. In another article published recently by the Deseret News, Harmer was featured as one of a handful of possible Mormons on November ballots across the nation, including Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV).

Critics of Harmer have pointed to his past candidacies for the House in Utah and the 10th District as proof he is a political opportunist. Harmer lost to Garamendi in 2009 for Ellen Tauscher's seat and a year later has set his sights on McNerney's neighboring seat. One of Harmer's opponents in the open primary election in June 2009 for Tauscher's seat, Assemblywoman Joan Buchanan is also facing the same criticism after she quickly entered the race for re-election of her assembly seat after finishing a disappointing fourth in the 10th District's primary.

Polls show Harmer running nearly 10 points behind McNerney, who himself once benefited with help from Democrats to defeat long-time congressman Richard Pombo in 2006. Pombo was famously nicknamed "Cowboy" by former president George W. Bush. Recently, Harmer has publicly challenged McNerney to a series of debates throughout the valley, but the incumbent has yet to respond. With a somewhat comfortable lead heading towards Labor Day, McNerney may not want to give his challenger an opportunity to gain ground.
-STEVEN TAVARES

Eshoo, Chan Say 'Get the Lead Out' of Our Drinking Water

Wilma Chan's 2006 Calif. law lowered
the amount of lead in pipes and fixtures
 to one-fourth percent.
BILL BASED ON CHAN'S 2006 LAW HEADS TO U.S. SENATE
By Steven Tavares

Palo Alto Congresswoman Anna Eshoo (D-CA14) wants the U.S. Senate to pass stringent regulations on lead faucet fixtures similar to the law Wilma Chan introduced four years ago in the California assembly.

Current federal law designates pipes and fittings to contain no more than eight percent lead and home faucet fixtures no more than four percent. Chan wrote in the California Progress Report most household faucet weigh more than six pounds. "We’ve long known that lead contained in a faucet or other household plumbing will leach into the drinking water as that water passes through the plumbing," said Chan. "So how safe can a faucet be that contains a quarter pound of lead?" After eight years in the assembly, Chan regained her seat on the Alameda County Board of Supervisors last June, replacing Alice Lai-Bitker

Eshoo's bill, which was passed by the House of Representatives July 30 and now heads to the Senate, would follow Chan's lead in lowering the amount of lead in pipes and fixtures to one-fourth of one percent. After fierce opposition to Chan's AB 1953 by lobbyists from just about every major faucet manufacturer, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger signed the bill into law in 2006. The law went into effect in California on July 1 of this year.

Eshoo's attempt to "Get the Lead Out" of the nation's drinking water--the actually title of the proposed act--has also faced opposition from faucet manufacturers this time around who want to set the limits of their own findings while also administering the actual testing for lead. "In other words," said Chan, "industry says 'trust us.' We should not be fooled into allowing the proverbial fox to guard the henhouse."

Exposure to high amounts of lead can lead to hypertension, lowered IQ and kidney problems. Children are more susceptible to the effects of lead than adults since the toxin is not easily flushed out of the system and accumulates in the bodies of kids. "We know the damage lead exposure causes, we know how to prevent it, and we know the cost of doing nothing," Eshoo said. "In California, we have a successful formula to prevent lead exposure and the damage it causes. It's time we protect the rest of the country."

Friday, August 20, 2010

Sutter CEO: 'It's Not Our Mission to Maximize Profits'

BLOOMBERG FEATURE ON SUTTER'S MARKET POWER FUELS DEBATE ON SKY-HIGH HEALTH CARE COSTS
Sutter operates both Eden Medical Center
 and San Leandro Hospital, while holding
 35 percent of the market in Northern California.
"Sutter really has us over a barrel," a retired police officer told Bloomberg's Peter Waldman in an excellent feature on Sutter Health's rising market power in Northern California. It seems Sutter has many entities in a bind when it comes to lower health care prices and offering affordable service to the poor and indigent.

In the lengthy piece published today, Waldman describes Sutter's ability to charge wildly inflated prices for the same procedures neigbhoring competitors charge far less to execute. An economist says Sutter's rising market share is a cautionary tale in national health care reform. Executives from health insurance companies Aetna, HealthNet and Blue Shield would not speak on the record for the article, giving the impression both companies, themselves the targets of legislative oversight in Sacramento for charging exorbitant increases in premiums for many Californians, may be pushing some of the heat back on health care providers. “Sutter says to all of its payers--to the best of our knowledge--‘These are the terms by which you will deal with Sutter. Take it or leave it.’,” said an Aetna employee. The elusive CEO of the non-profit Sutter Health Pat Fry, though, says, "Our mission is not to maximize profits."

The Bloomberg article notably makes reference to San Leandro Hospital, in addition, to its brief courtship last summer with Prime Healthcare. Fry repeated Sutter and the Alameda County Medical Center's claim San Leandro Hospital is more valuable to residents as an acute rehabilitation facility than a fully-functioning hospital with emergency room services. “You just can’t close something that serves 25,000 people and expect nothing will go wrong,” said Alex Briscoe, director of Alameda County Health Services. “The impact could cost some lives.” Briscoe has offered this statement in the past, but not without certain caveats, namely that the county could absorb the influx of patients to surrounding hospitals if San Leandro Hospital is closed.

Prime and its owner Dr. Prem Reddy attempted with great fanfare to lure San Leandro Hospital into its own growing orbit until Sutter sent the company a stinging letter to back off. The letter referenced an article in The Citizen when a director for the Eden Township Healthcare District implied they had other suitors for the hospital, including Prime. In some ways, according to the brief history of Sutter in the Bloomberg piece, Prime could be the Southern California version of Sutter in terms of accumulating market share through its non-profit status. Like Sutter in the 1980s, Prime has quickly made a name for itself as a rehabilitator of bankrupt local hospitals. San Leandro Hospital in many ways, to Prime, fit this basic profile. Yet, there still remains a stigma among officials in Alameda County over Prime and its own controversial billing practices.

While Sutter has in many ways gamed the local hospital system to its advantage, the scope of this article also shows just how extraordinary the grassroots movement by nurses and activists at St. Luke's in San Francisco [Also, California Nurses Association files class-action suit against Sutter for discriminating against Filipino workers] and here in San Leandro have staved off imminent closure despite the considerable forces up against it. If not for their constant pressure, San Leandro Hospital would be nearing the first anniversary of its closing next month, instead, with Sutter's recent announcement the facility would remain open while its lawsuit against the District is litigated, its doors remain open indefinitely.
-STEVEN TAVARES

Thursday, August 19, 2010

City Attorney to Starosciak: Don't Get Involved in Election Squabble

SHE MAY BE ON THE HOOK FOR LEGAL EXPENSES IF SUED BY HERON BAY
By Steven Tavares

The San Leandro City Attorney's office advised Councilwoman Joyce Starosciak to not get involved in Heron Bay's dispute among some residents over the homeowners association's board elections, according to the numerous sources.

According to a memo from the city attorney's office, Starosiciak was told the city had no jurisdiction to inject itself in the association's election procedures. City Attorney Jayne Williams did not return a phone call for comment.

In an email sent Aug. 5 by Starosiciak to the city council referenced conversations between the councilwoman and city attorney before and after sending a letter to the Heron Bay Homeowners Association asking for information about its contentious March board elections. Starosciak says constituents in Heron Bay had raised concerns over the eligibility of some candidates and the timely disclosure of the election's results.

The four-page letter from Starosciak is laden with numerous references to the Davis-Stirling Act which allows planned developments a means to govern themselves. Heron Bay Homeowners Association President Michael Ostwind said he and other homeowners objected to the tone and the perceived "demands" in the correspondence while fiercely protesting Starosciak's right to intercede in its business. Ostwind called for the councilwoman, who is also running for mayor, to resign and raised the possibility of litigation against the city and/or Starosciak.

According to a source who has spoken with the city attorney's office, Starosciak may be on the hook for any legal expenses in the event Heron Bay files a lawsuit. Starosciak declined to speak on the issue because of the possibility of legal action against her.

The burgeoning controversy comes at a time when the race for mayor is beginning to heat up. The five candidates, including incumbent Mayor Tony Santos will face-off in a forum Sept. 8 at the Marina Community Center. The fall races for both mayor and city council will feature the city's initial use of ranked choice voting to elect city leaders.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

HOA President Calls for Starosciak to Resign Council Seat

SAYS COUNCILWOMAN MISUSED CITY RESOURCES TO GET INVOLVED IN HOA ELECTION
By Steven Tavares

The president of the Heron Bay Homeowners Association called for San Leandro Councilwoman Joyce Starosciak to resign after he alleges she misrepresented the city's authority and used staff time to intercede in a potential dispute over its board elections last March.

"I find her unethical and a poor representative of the city," said Heron Bay HOA President Michael Ostwind. "I would like her to resign."
At issue was a correspondence sent by Starosciak to the HOA, she says was at the behest of Heron Bay homeowners who voiced concern over the implementation of elections rules. Three candidates were allowed to run after failing to submit requisite forms before the stated deadline. One of those were Ostwind, who eventually won re-election to the board. He says he another candidate had verbally indicated their intent to run before the deadline and no election laws were breached.

Heron Bay reacted to Starosciak's missive printed on city letterhead with one of their own earlier this month penned by the association's attorney who forcefully questioned her authority to oversee their election process. Ostwind says by using city letterhead along with her specific "demands" gave the impression of city involvement. Potentially, Starosciak's use of "I" instead of "we" throughout her letter to the HOA may open herself up to personal litigation, says Ostwind.

Heron Bay also raised the possibility of litigation against the city of San Leandro over the issue. Ostwind says the potential still exists, but he would hesitate recommending such action in the current economic landscape. "The city doesn't have money right now," he said. "I know they have better things for their limited resources."

Ostwind, though, said he notified Starosciak last Thursday in a blistering phone conversation to not destroy records she may possess pertaining to the controversy in the event the HOA sues her. Starosciak is also running for mayor of San Leandro this fall.
Heron Bay, which resides within Starosciak's council district, has butted heads with each other in the past. Some homeowners were against new parking enforcement rules enacted last year that resulted in numerous citations. Ostwind and others led a plan to issue two parking passes for each homeowner. He pointed to his re-election as a signal the new rules had been embraced by residents despite a vocal group that protested its implentation. Ostwind says in the past Starosicak has waffled on issues and pointed to his own success in saving Heron Bay residents hundreds of dollars when FEMA excluded the area from its flood maps without her involvement.
"She talked to nobody about this issue before writing that letter and didn't do her homework," said Ostwind. "I can tell you this, I hope she doesn't become mayor."

Poll Shows Little Movement in Mayor's Race

SANTOS LEADS BUT FALLS SHORT OF MAJORITY
By Steven Tavares

An internal poll for the mayor's race in San Leandro shows little movement has been made by Tony Santos' opponents. But, nevertheless there is concern during an election featuring the first-time use of Ranked Choice Voting in San Leandro.

The poll described to The Citizen shows Santos short of accomplishing a majority. Some sort of permutation of second place votes will be needed to push him over 50 percent, but where will they come from is the question. The survey shows Councilwoman Joyce Starosciak with around 20 percent and Stephen Cassidy at 15 percent.

Those numbers are not much different than figures predicted by some officials earlier in the year. Since the poll, two additional candidates--Sara Mestas and John Palau--have entered the race. Despite data showing RCV rarely produces a winner different from an election using plurality voting, there is still a sense of apprehension on how to conduct a campaign under the format which guarantees a winner in one election rather than the need for a more expensive primary and runoff elections.

If Santos' numbers stand pat, he will need to pick up the remaining 3-5 percent from voters who ranked him second to their preferred candidate. Most likely they would come from Mestas and Palau, but then there is concern whether a combination of both candidate's first place votes would even be enough on their own.

Debating with a Chair?

HOA WOULD NOT RESCHEDULE SEPT. 8 FORUM FOR MAYOR SANTOS
Most month's San Leandro Mayor Tony Santos holds Coffee with the Mayor where residents can voice concerns and ask questions. What about a Candidate's Forum without the Mayor?

A scheduled Sept.8 candidate's forum at the Marina Community Center may be missing the man whom everyone wants to unseat. The 7 p.m. forum may not include Tony Santos for the entire program. The mayor says he informed the organizers of the event two months ago he was scheduled for a city event at the same time as the forum, but the homeowners association president refused to reschedule.

Having a debate without the person whom the other four candidates for the job are trying to replace seems to be a waste of time. Santos now says he may be a little late to the event.
-STEVEN TAVARES

Hand-to-Hand Political Combat in Alameda

POLITICS AND FIRE CHIEF'S PILFERING OF GASOLINE HAS ALAMEDA IN A COMBUSTIBLE MOOD
By Steven Tavares

You can call it the Bell Factor. When officials dip their ladle too deep into the the people's pot of soup during rough economic times, expect an outcry.

Alameda Fire Chief David Kapler's alleged defrauding at the city's gas pump is the latest local angle to the apparent free-for-all in Los Angeles County where officials in Bell reaped substantial benefits in the one of the poorest areas of the state.

The Island reported yesterday Kapler gassed up his personal vehicles on the city's dime. Kapler says it is part of his service contract. The city now says there is no reference to fuel in his contract. To make matters worse, Kapler was photographed red-handed last weekend filling up his sports car.

What exactly is going on in Alameda? A few weeks ago, Councilwoman Lena Tam was accused of proffering information given in closed session to various outlets allegedly favoring a deal with the developer SunCal to remake the old naval airbase in Alameda. The smoking gun in that case was emails from Tam reportedly uncovered by Alameda's controversial interim city manager. The city council ultimately ran SunCal out of town and some observers believe Tam will eventually be cleared. At the time of disclosure, the city's firefighters notably came out in defense of Tam and this is where both these potential scandals pivot along with Mayor Bev Johnson's candidacy for city council, a person familiar with the city's politics and fire department.

According to the Chronicle, firefighters in Alameda ratted out their chief after giving the offending photo and gas log to Johnson yesterday, but the mayor has also tangled with her fire department in recent months. During Johnson's unsuccessful run for the Alameda County Board of Supervisors last June, observers believed her tough stance against public safety would be her downfall. She garnered just 30 percent in losing to the Wilma Chan. Johnson is now running for one of two seats on the city council.

In both the SunCal-Tam story and the fire chief's fuel fiasco, the crucial piece of information implicating opponents--whether emails or gotcha photos--has landed on Johnson's desk as a vehicle to thwart  her challengers.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Candidate for Congress Posts False List of Socialists

 Sen. Joseph McCarthy
BAKER POSTS ERRONEOUS LIST OF 'AVOWED' COMMIES; INCLUDES STARK “Congressman Stark is a Marxist," Forest Baker wrote earlier this month. "The last of the 1960′s far left radicals."

Baker is the Republican nominee facing Rep. Pete Stark this fall. Since defeating a June challenger who went by the name "Coach," Baker's strategy thus far has been to follow the impotent game plan of linking Democrats to socialism.

Today, Baker tweeted to his followers a blog posting from the conservative web site American Thinker revealing 70 members of Congress are "avowed" socialists. Stark, of course, is listed babooshka and all. The list has circulated around the web for over a year reputedly from the Socialist Party of America, but is somewhat akin to the drawing of the a beautiful princess once turned upside-down becomes a wrinkled old woman.

It also includes California comrades Rep. Barbara Lee and the embattled Rep. Maxine Waters. According to American Thinker, 70 of the 255 Democrats in Congress are on the list, but Speaker Nancy Pelosi is a notable omission. Wait, cue the voice of Joseph McCarthy: "You also wonder how many are still in the closet," they wrote.

One problem, though, the Socialist Party of America does not exist, nor does the list of so-called commies, although it can be construed as a cobbled together list of progressive legislators. In fact, there is only one "avowed" socialist in American politics--Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders--where maple syrup and socialism has coexisted for nearly 20 years.

With a electorate Baker admits is less than one-fifth Republican, why is Baker reaching out to the far-right fringe of District 13? The posting is rife with inconsistencies and blatant lies. An update of the posting vaguely confronts the issue of theSocial Party of America not existing by mentioning it merely underwent a name change to the progressive party caucus along with adding puppetmaster George Soros is lurking in the background. In addition, the Democratic candidate vying to win President Obama's former senate seat in Illinois, Alex Giannoulias vowed last week to create a progressive caucus in the senate if victorious not as a counterweight to conservatives, but as opposition to fiscally conservative Blue Dog Democrats.

What is a Bay Area Republican to do with an opposition more fearful of its own members and without any support from the RNC? Apparently, there is nowhere else but the fringe. The Tea Party independent candidate for Stark's seat, Chris Pareja, appears to have come up short in gaining the requisite number of signatures to qualify for the ballot, but he too veered hard to the right. A number of his comments have revealed a strict constructionist critique of the Constitution. Pareja reported an exchange with Stark in Alameda last week where he asked the congressman to send a letter on his behalf to the state secretary of state asking for an extension for his challenger. Stark told Pareja he was not in the business of helping his opponent beat him. Helping the disenfranchised minority is an a Progressive tenet, isn't it? In this case, Stark isn't a very good socialist.
-STEVEN TAVARES

East Bay November Ballot Preview


Below is the final list of local candidates for the Tuesday, Nov. 2 general election.

U.S. REPRESENTATIVE
California, District 13
Forest Baker (R) www.forestbakerforcongress.com/
Pete Stark (D) (I) stark.house.gov

California, District 11
David Christensen www.constitutionpartyca.org/node/503
David Harmer (R) www.harmerforcongress.com/
Jerry McNerney (D) (I) www.jerrymcnerney.org


CALIFORNIA STATE SENATE
District 10
Ivan Chou
Ellen Corbett (I) dist10.casen.govoffice.com/
Rob Maffit www.defeatcorbett.com/

CALIFORNIA ASSEMBLY
Distict 18
Mary Hayashi (I) democrats.assembly.ca.gov/members/a18/
Michael Havig

COUNTY SUPERVISOR, ALAMEDA
District 2
Liz Figueroa www.lizfigueroaforsupervisor.com/
Nadia Lockyer www.nadiaforsupervisor.com/

MAYOR, SAN LEANDRO
Stephen Cassidy http://www.cassidyforsanleandro.com/
Sara Mestas www.electsaramestas.org
John Palau
Tony Santos (I) http://www.santosformayor2010.com/
Joyce Starosciak http://www.electjoyce.org/

CITY COUNCIL, SAN LEANDRO
District 1
David Anderson http://www.anderson4citycouncil.org/
Michael Gregory (I) http://votemichaelgregory.com

District 3
Diana Souza (I)

District 5
Pauline Cutter www.paulinecutter.com/
Corina Lopez http://corinalopez.com/

SCHOOL TRUSTEE, SAN LEANDRO
Area 2
Lance James
Victoria Wong

Area 4
Latrina Dumas
Mike Katz (I)

SCHOOL TRUSTEE, SAN LORENZO
Vote 2
Stacy Santos Blum
Gene Judson
Rebecca Olivera
Isabel Polvorosa (I)
Helen Randall (I)
Elliot Schneider

SCHOOL TRUSTEE, HAYWARD
Vote 2
Audie Bock
Lisa Brunner
E. Sue Lafferty
William McGee
Sheila Sims (I)

Short term, Vote 1
Jesus Armas (I)
Lawrence Fitzpatrick
Annette Walker

EDEN TOWNSHIP HEALTHCARE DISTRICT
Board of Directors (Vote 3)
Lester Friedman
Susan Reisz
Carole Rogers (I)
William West (I)

ORO LOMA SANITARY DISTRICT
Board of Directors (Vote 3)
Timothy Becker (I)
Larry Johnson
Howard Kerr (I)
Frank Sidari (I)
Dan Walters
Shelia Young

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Police Chief's Exit Means More than Meets the Eye

ISSUES NOT IN SANTOS' FAVOR INTERSECT CHIEF'S RETIREMENT; MAY WON'T RUN FOR SCHOOL BOARD
By Steven Tavares

While retiring San Leandro Police Chief Ian Willis, 50, is spending quality time with his family his family--according to the average lifespan of an American male--at least, for next quarter century(!), his exit is an intersection of issues vexing the city and, in the near term, this November's mayoral election.

Who knew when the city manager was repeatedly talking about offering so-called "golden handshakes" to city employees to retire early, the police chief was champing at the bit to get one himself? With pension reform a political hot potato spotlighted in the city by Stephen Cassidy, the stark reality is Willis' early retirement is one last stab at benefiting from a program set up during a web-fueled economy flush with cash, but alarmingly decadent today in the middle of the Great Recession. By retiring at 50, Willis may be entitled to a pension worth more than $140,000-a-year. Deserving or not, it is a tailor-made and easily digestible fact for Cassidy to dole out to prospective voters, instead of the hodge-podge of big numbers and confusing calculations.

The city is thanking Willis for staying on until a successor is named--conveniently just after the election and around the time a possible new mayor takes office. With the San Leandro Police Officers Association endorsing Councilwoman Joyce Rutledge Starosciak (kind of like the politician many around town compare her to, Hillary Rodham Clinton?) and the police chief high-tailing out of town inures himself from any potentially harmful political shrapnel from Mayor Tony Santos. Ironically, Santos lost the police union's backing because of his support to raise the retirement age from 50-years-old to 55 at the same 3 percent of their salary.

Exactly who City Manager Stephen Hollister tabs to be the next police chief could be based on whether the city is able to move forward from the last of seven sexual harassment suits filed before Willis became chief in 2008. Questions of Hollister hiring an in-house candidate while the department apparently had enormous problems with its male-dominated culture against the opposite gender still persists. The press release Monday announcing Willis' retirement went to great lengths to laud the department's change of culture, but in reality, no programs of consequence have been enacted since Attarian's disgraced retirement two years ago. One thing is for sure, in terms of the election, Santos should hope any potentially costly settlement with the three remaining former female police officers comes after November 2 and not before.
*****
As the walls of the Hayward School Board continue to buckle and topple, they will not have the help of former Councilwoman Anna May to tidy the place up in the future. As the extended deadline to grab a spot on the November ballot nears today, May says she will not seek the office many believed she would have likely won.

Former assemblywoman Audie Bock is one of four candidates for two seats on the board. Bock is apparently doing a "Filipovich" and is listed as a candidate for for the Hayward Area Recreation and Park District. Incumbent Sheila Sims, Lisa Brunner and William McGee are also on the ballot. Two candidates withdrew their nomination this week and another failed the complete the filing process, while the current board president chose to not seek re-election.

Current Trustee Jesus Armas will attempt to win re-election to the board's two-year seat against Lawrence Fitzpatrick and Annette Walker. There were rumors May and former Hayward city manager Greg Jones would form a three-person ticket to revamp the board, but that possibility is now gone.

May reiterated her previous concerns about the effectiveness of steering the downtrodden school district back to respectability with state control looming on the horizon. "Whatever the board does now has significant impact on the incoming board and I'm not interested in just keeping a seat warm for 4 years if the state takes over," said May.

"The bottom line is this," she said. "Whoever's leading the district on the board, we as a community need to support them in their decisions, even if we do not agree with them. These people for the most part are putting their hearts and souls into serving the community and we have to respect them for that."

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Corbett, Hayashi Vote Against Postponing Water Bond

The California Legislature narrowly push aside a wide-ranging water bond from the November ballot possibly saving it from likely defeat and did so without two local officials. Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg said postponing the initiative to 2012 will allow for fine-tuning the $11 billion bond measure.

Both bills voted upon Monday night barely mustered enough votes to pass. Although, the senate passed AB 1265 by a 27-7 margin, it needed a two-thirds majority. State Sen. Ellen Corbett voted against the bill. In the assembly,  after a few rounds of horse trading was needed to gain approval and it did so 54-22 without Assemblywoman Mary Hayashi, who also voted no. Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger signed the bill late Tuesday afternoon.

Opponents of the water bond say it was pork-laden and unwieldy and sought to allow the once-future Proposition 18 to likely founder at the ballot box this November with the state facing a $19 billion deficit. Instead, the Legislature will resume discussion in two years time on how to alleviate the state's broken water system constructed 50 years ago with a population half the size it is today.
-STEVEN TAVARES 

San Leandro Police Chief to Retire By Year's End

WILLIS WAS NAMED TO REPLACE ATTARIAN IN DEC. 2008
By Steven Tavares

San Leandro Police Chief Ian Willis announced Monday he will retire from his post after less than two years on the job to spend more time with his family. Willis will stay on until a successor is named as early as the end of this year, according to City Manager Stephen Hollister.

Willis was named interim chief in December of 2008 after the retirement of Dale Attarian and officially given the position in August 2009. He has spent over 27 years at the San Leandro Police Department after a short stint in Foster City. "I am now looking forward to spending more time with my family," said Willis.

"Chief Willis has done a great job," said Hollister. "In addition, to providing organizational stability, he has increased morale and introduced a number of significant initiatives."

Highest among Willis' achievement is an 11 percent drop in crime during his first year. The department estimates this year's numbers will slightly improve upon that figure reaching a 30-year low in crime. A press release touted Willis' attention to community outreach along with the promotion of the department's first female manager.

With his retirement after less than two years at the helm his tenure may amount to a caretaker role aimed at rehabilitating the city's police force after numerous sexually harassment suits were filed by seven female officers. Four of the suits, which occurred under Attarian and named the former chief in the complaints, were settled last year for $405,000 with three potentially larger settlements on the horizon. "[Willis] fostered an environment where all employees are treated fairly, equally and respectful," read the city's statement Monday.

Hollister says the interview process could take between 4-6 months culminating with a replacement by the end of the year or early 2011. Whomever takes over the department will face cuts to its police force and staff. Eight officers were cut by the city's recently approved budget with the prospects of an stagnant economy making further cuts possible in the future. On the bright side, San Leandro's declining crime totals are similar to other cities across the nation. The phenomenon is confounding many social experts who espouse the basic decades-long tenet that higher crime tags along with rising unemployment and economic uncertainty. 

Monday, August 9, 2010

November Ballot Nears Completion

FILING PERIOD EXTENDED FOR SOME RACES
Election Day is November 2. Listed below are the candidates who have completed the filing process through Aug 9. Where noted the deadline to file for races for which an incumbent did not run has been extended to Wednesday, Aug. 11. Names in boldface indicate new candidates who have filed in the past week.

U.S. REPRESENTATIVE
California, District 13
Forest Baker (R)
Pete Stark (D) (I)

COUNTY SUPERVISOR, ALAMEDA
District 2
Liz Figueroa
Nadia Lockyer

MAYOR, SAN LEANDRO
Stephen Cassidy
Sara Mestas
John Palau
Tony Santos (I)
Joyce Starosciak

CITY COUNCIL, SAN LEANDRO
District 1
David Anderson
Michael Gregory (I)

District 3
Diana Souza (I)

District 5
Pauline Cutter
Corina Lopez

SCHOOL TRUSTEE, SAN LEANDRO
Area 2 Extended
Lance James
Victoria Wong

Area 4
Latrina Dumas
Mike Katz (I)

Area 6 Extended
Merlinda Morales

SCHOOL TRUSTEE, HAYWARD
Vote 2 Extended
Sabrina Becerra
Audie Bock
Lisa Brunner
Gabriel Jimenez
William McGee
Sheila Sims (I)

Short term
Jesus Armas (I)
Lawrence Fitzpatrick
Annette Walker

EDEN TOWNSHIP HEALTHCARE DISTRICT
Board of Directors (Vote 3) Extended
Lester Friedman
Susan Reisz
Carole Rogers (I)
Jeff Rosier
William West (I)

Friday, August 6, 2010

Heron Bay Accuses Starosciak of Interfering in HOA Election

EXCLUSIVE
COUNCILWOMAN QUESTIONED THE VALIDITY OF HOA'S ELECTION PROCEDURES
By Steven Tavares

Members of San Leandro's Heron Bay Homeowners Association are accusing Councilwoman Joyce Starosciak of interfering with the aftermath of their board election held last March where two incumbents were re-elected.

Heron Bay HOA Board President Michael Ostwind through a San Jose law firm sent an angry letter last week to Starosciak and the entire city council asserting the councilwoman has no authority to interfere in their election process. "One questions the jurisdiction of the City of San Leandro, the City Council or you personally to question any election process undertaken by the Heron Bay Homeowners Association," wrote A. Alan Berger, an attorney for the HOA to Starosciak. "I know of no such authority." The letter obtained by The Citizen concludes by defending its decision to send the correspondence to the entire board. "I believe that they should be aware of the potential legal action involving the City into which you are walking them," said Berger.

Ostwind and fellow boardmember Scott Walter won re-election for the two available seats last March. One meeting reportedly was so raucous an officer from the San Leandro Police Department was present to maintain order.

A letter from Starosciak on city letterhead to the Heron Bay HOA in July questioned why some candidates were allowed to submit statements after a Jan. 25, 5 p.m. deadline which was published in their newsletter. Based on the timestamps printed on candidate statements that were faxed after the stated deadline,according to Starosciak's letter, three candidates were allowed to run, including both eventual winners Ostwind and Walter. The third candidate, George Mak, is also mentioned and missed the deadline by just 34 minutes, according to Starosciak's letter. The HOA's attorney said, "Suffice to say that the allegations you have made are not accurate."

The controversy appears to stem from actions made by Mak and his brother, who the HOA refers to on numerous occasions as "dissidents." The HOA alleges the Mak's have continually attempted to undermine the board through back channels for months and accuse them of being the party who reached out to Starosciak. Heron Bay, which lies at the end of western end of Lewelling Boulevard, is located within Starosciak's District 4 boundaries. She is also running to unseat Mayor Tony Santos this November.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Show Me the Real Money

IS CUTTER LOSING THE MAYOR'S SUPPORT? CASSIDY, BROWN: LIKETHIS
By Steven Tavares

Is there a tangible difference between non-monetary contributions versus cold, hard cash? San Leandro mayoral candidate Stephen Cassidy says no. A press release Tuesday touted financial disclosures filings showing a considerable money advantage over the incumbent Mayor Tony Santos and Councilwoman Joyce Starosciak.

"Demonstrating strong momentum as the campaign enters its last 100 days, campaign manager Tim Holmes, announced today the Cassidy for Mayor campaign has received over $30,000 in contributions for 2010, exceeding opponents Santos and Starociak by over $7,000 and $20,000 respectively," said Cassidy's web site.

But is it a true statement?

If you breakdown Cassidy's reported $30,005 in total contributions, just over one-third come from individual donors. In fact, Cassidy's own campaign manager is his largest contributor. Holmes and his wife gave $1,250 to the Cassidy campaign this year. In addition, $7,560 in loans Cassidy gave his campaign and not mentioned in the release.

The bulk of Cassidy's contributions came from non-monetary contributions. Supporters furnished web designing, graphic art work and data analysis worth $11,740. Non-monetary contributions are quite fungible and usually not reported in terms of fundraising strength, a fact even Cassidy acolyte and San Leandro School Board President Mike Katz noted on his blog.
*****
TEA PARTYING WITH BROWN? Santos takes great glee in portraying Cassidy as a conservative, whether it is true or not. Santos has mockingly referred to Cassidy as the "new Lou Filipovich"--the rickety San Leandro conservative and now mayoral candidate. After Cassidy came out in favor of pension reform for city employees, Santos asked, "When did Cassidy join the Tea Party?"

The assertion may have taking a bit of a toll on Cassidy, but his position was buoyed recently when Jerry Brown told the Los Angeles Times, he too, favored reigning in state pensions. Very few would put the Democratic nominee for governor and theTea Party in the same sentence. "I'm not going to blame public servants for problems that have been created by Wall Street hedge funds and mortgage sellers," said Brown, "but at the same time, as I did as governor, I know when it's time to tighten our belt,"

The employee pension issue and the city's quarter-cent sales tax measure are shaping up as the likely point of difference between Santos and Starosciak against Cassidy.
*****
GOOD COP/BAD COP It is not a good idea to stoke controversy among the electorate when you are the incumbent and the election is less than three months away. When Santos and City Manager Stephen Hollister met with representatives from the school board there was a chance the city would take a hard line against funding crossing guards for the upcoming school year. Hollister had said in council chambers and in an interview with The Citizen the city simply could not fund even half of the programs amid steep cuts in staff and services.

Santos and Hollister, though, may have been playing good cop/bad cap that day. Santos said he pulled Hollister aside before the meeting last Thursday and discussed again splitting the $100,000 cost of crossing guards with the school district. "We can't go in there and say we're not funding this," said Santos. During the meeting Hollister again listed the cuts to the city budget and dispelled rumors the absence of guards would put the city in legal risk. When it was Santos' turn to speak, he immediately said the city would offer to split the costs. The potential deal quickly took the air out of potential opposition, including mayoral candidate Sara Mestas, who led the fight to reinstate the program last year and was in attendance at the meeting. With that, the ball is back in the school district's court. The first day of school in San Leandro is Aug. 25.
*****
THE BREAK-UP San Leandro School Trustee Pauline Cutter wants to know what's eating Tony Santos. Cutter is running to replace outgoing councilmember Bill Stephens for the District 5 seat against Corina Lopez and Ted Kai. During the same city/school board liaison meeting last Thursday, Santos and Cutter sniped at each other when the mayor asserted the school board could have received a new sports complex without tax dollars. Santos detailed past discussions of building a field on the grounds of San Lorenzo High School. Cutter noted the board had looked at the proposal but quibbled over funding a project in another municipality. When she noted Alameda County oversees unincorporated San Lorenzo, Santos quickly shot back, "I know it's Alameda County." Cutter took slight offense to the retort. Afterwards, Cutter said it was the second such outburst in recent weeks made by Santos towards her. "I don't know what's going on with Tony," she said. "I'm going to have to find out what's wrong." While both have ties to labor unions, Cutter may be worried about receiving the mayor's endorsement for council this November. The worry being Lopez's connection to consultants associated to Santos may draw his support. "I'm staying neutral on that race," said Santos.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Fundraising Totals Indicate Mayoral Race Not Attracting Passion

CASSIDY'S FUNDRAISING TOTALS SURGE PASS STAROSCIAK
By Steven Tavares

Maybe it is the sign of the times or a function of a rapidly growing field of candidates facing an incumbent for mayor of San Leandro, but money is barely trickling into the coffers of those vying for the city's top spot.  According to financial disclosures filed this week four of the five candidates who filed statements have together amassed just over $40,000 in campaign contributions for the entire year.

Mayor Tony Santos again led all challengers in campaign dollars with $23,943.46 reported and $4,081.39 in unpaid debt. Labor unions formed the largest bloc of campaign contributors for the incumbent mayor with over $5,850 in fundraising. Santos has long been popular with labor unions, in addition to support from the police and fire department.

In somewhat of a surprise, former San Leandro school trustee Stephen Cassidy surged ahead of Councilwoman Joyce Starosciak in campaign dollars received and reports $20,346 in cash through June. The figure includes $8,830 in loans from Cassidy to his campaign. The report also details a non-monetary contribution from current School Board President Mike Katz of $2,000 in fair market value for voter data analysis.

The campaign of Starosciak continues to remain stagnant. The biggest surprise of the financial disclosure filings may be the relatively paltry $6,314 reported by her campaign. The councilmember who represents the Washington Manor section of San Leandro brought in $9,333 in campaign contributions through June. According to her filing, it includes $500 from Southern California Assemblyman Anthony Portantino. The campaigns largest outlay is $10,200 to campaign consultant Larry Tramutola, who also represents Alameda County supervisor candidate Nadia Lockyer.

Local rapper and political activist Sara Mestas reported an ending balance through June of $263 with debts nearly equaling the total. Her disclosure is heavy in non-monetary contributions with $4,338 in various goods and services. Over $1,000 came from the Las Vegas-based Kent Entertainment, which represents her recording career. Lou Filipovich, who lost in his bid for Alameda County supervisor last June, did not file a financial disclosure form.

Naida Lockyer's War Chest is in Need of Replenishment

REPORTS JUST $4,687 IN CASH THROUGH THE END OF JUNE
By Steven Tavares

Nadia Lockyer has spent over three-quarters of a million dollars during the first six months of this year in her quest to become an Alameda County supervisor, according to financial disclosure forms filed this week. It may not be enough, though.

Despite benefiting from $556,280.36 in donations from her husband Bill Lockyer's campaign for attorney general--he will face Mimi Walters this November--Nadia Lockyer's campaign revealed a cash balance of just $4,687.80. The figure does not include unpaid debts of $4,382.80. Since the beginning of the year, her campaign has spent $750,170.85.

Since her last filing at the end of May, Bill Lockyer's campaign made two large donations totalling over $129,000. Most of the campaign's expenditures have gone towards consulting fees, according to the report. Nearly $100,000 was paid to the Oakland political consulting firm led by Larry Tramutola.

While Lockyer's campaign coffers may appear to be struggling to stay in the black, most observers believe large infusions of cash from Bill Lockyer's campaign are on the way and likely already in her bank account. "The answers will be in the 460s we file in September," said her consultant Katie Merrill.

Last June, Lockyer won 38 percent of a four-person race for the open seat on the Alameda County Board of Supervisors representing District 2. She did not gain a majority of the votes and will face former state senator Liz Figueroa in a runoff in November.

Figueroa, who eeked out a second place finish over Union City Mark Green with 24 percent of the vote, also reported a less-than-robust financial statement this week with a cash balance ending on June 30 of $8,067.55. The amount, though, is overshadowed by $37,306.71 in campaign debt, which includes a $10,000 loan Figueroa made to her campaign earlier this year.

Episode 1 of the TnT Podcast is Now Available

Pete Stark’s ladder, Wedding of the Century, Chris Pareja’s audit
A viral video of Rep. Pete Stark’s recent comments at a town hall meeting in Hayward last month is making the rounds. Steven and Nick discuss his assertion the federal government can do as it wishes...Wedding bells are in the air in Hayward. The former city councilwoman and the former city manager are tying the knot and TnT is in charge of the favors...The Tea Party’s independent candidate to challenge Stark needs 9,500 signatures by Friday to qualify for the ballot. We’ll audit the list. 9,499...9,498...

The Weekly TnT Skewer List (people, ideas criticized in this week's podcast)
Pete Stark, God the Father, Charlie Rangel, Maxine Waters, Anna May, Greg Jones, Bill Lockyer, Roberta Cooper, Olden Henson, Bill Quirk, Michael Sweeney, Kevin Dowling, Barbara Halliday, Fudge Guy, Mike Katz-Lacabe, Yankees/Red Sox/Indians fans, Phil Bronstein. 

Steven Tavares, reporter for the EastBayCitizen.com, and former Hayward and Alameda County commissioner Nick Terry take a weekly look at the East Bay political scene with a bit of irreverence and smarts. There are many blogs in the Bay Area, but only the EastBayCitizen.com provides “news for those who can’t read.”

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Hayward School Races Gain Candidates

FILING PERIOD ENDS THIS FRIDAY
Election Day is November 2. Listed below are the candidates who have been issued paperwork for their nomination to the ballot through Aug 2. The deadline to file is Friday, Aug. 6. Names in boldface indicate candidates who have filed in the past week.

U.S. REPRESENTATIVE
California, District 13
Forest Baker (R)
Pete Stark (D) (I)
Chris Pareja (Ind.)

COUNTY SUPERVISOR, ALAMEDA
District 2
Liz Figueroa
Nadia Lockyer
MAYOR, SAN LEANDRO
Stephen Cassidy
Lou Filipovich
Sara Mestas
Tony Santos (I)
Joyce Starosciak

CITY COUNCIL, SAN LEANDRO
District 1
David Anderson
Michael Gregory (I)

District 3
Diana Souza (I)

District 5
Pauline Cutter
Ted Kai
Corina Lopez

SCHOOL TRUSTEE, SAN LEANDRO
Area 2
Lance James
Victoria Wong

Area 4
Latrina Dumas
Mike Katz (I)

Area 6
Merlinda Morales

SCHOOL TRUSTEE, HAYWARD
Vote 2
Sabrina Becerra
Sheila Sims

Short term
Jesus Armas
Annette Hoffman-Walker

EDEN TOWNSHIP HEALTHCARE DISTRICT
Board of Directors (Vote 3)
Susan Reisz
Carole Rogers (I)
Jeff Rosier
William West (I)

Monday, August 2, 2010

Mainstream Media Finally Catches Up with Stark's Latest Comments

Nine days after the fact, conservative bloggers and pundits are all over Rep. Pete Stark's assertion the federal government can do whatever it wants. Of course, there was more to the exchange along with other questioners who pressed him on the statement. Stark later said the federal government can only push rules in line with the Constitution. Here's a snippet from coverage in The Citizen July 25:
Stark may have made news in the coming days for some of America's most popular conservative talking heads when Kemp's cameras captured him saying "the federal government can do anything it wants." The comments drove a few into a uncontrollable rage, but Stark did not flinch as three people pressed him on the comment. Stark eventually clarified his statement arguing citizens are protected by the Constitution. "If the government does something unconstitutional that would be under review," but many in Hayward appear to view the federal government as more a monolith than friend these days.
Here's a clip from Stark's Hayward town hall July 24 where a woman equates health care reform with slavery:


-STEVEN TAVARES